And now for a very belated report about how the Little Women spent their Christmas break. The short answer is that they spent it in Germany, the place where Jonathan would gladly spend every Christmas.The week before Christmas they flew into Frankfurt, where they met up with Aunt Aubrey. (This is important because during the trip Aunt Aubrey introduced them to many life-changing activities, like taking selfies, posing for photos with statues, and doing facials in your hotel room.) Their short time in Frankfurt allowed them to visit Christmas markets in the old part of town and also see Mainz, the old stomping grounds of Johannes Gutenberg.
After a couple of days they took a train to Dresden, in the eastern part of Germany. Having previously spent Christmas in Dresden, the Little Women knew that a great Christmas market was waiting there for them, along with beautifully restored buildings. On Christmas Day they visited the historic and beautiful cities of Görlitz and Bautzen.
Once Christmas Day was over, the Little Women packed up their growing stash of holiday treats and took the train north to Berlin. While there was much to like about Berlin (what with the girls’ love for hip European capitals), their favorite part about the city was the fantastic breakfast that the hotel served every morning.
With December drawing to a close, they whisked back to Frankfurt to spend one more night there before flying home. When the plane touched down in Seattle, the Little Women had great Christmas memories, and Jenelle and Jonathan still had their sanity, so it must have been a fantastically successful trip.
More pictures are here.
On Friday the Little Women took advantage of mid-winter break to drive into the Cascade mountains and visit Hyak Snow Park. They were thrilled to find two to three feet of snow waiting for them.The park’s main attraction was its sledding hill, but it turned out that their sled wasn’t very good. (Maybe that’s why someone gave it to the Vances for the low, low price of free?) Fortunately there was plenty of fun to be had with snowball fights, digging snow caves, and tromping through the forest.
The Little Women celebrated the first Advent Sunday by building gingerbread houses. This year Jenelle decided to use some nice pre-made kits, made in Sweden by the masters of pre-made kits, Ikea.
That’s right, for only four dollars, you too can purchase a Vintersaga house kit. Like most Ikea products, it appears to be made of brown particle board, assembly is required, and the instructions have no words. The lifespan of this particular kit is short even for Ikea.
And here is Jenelle’s house. Note the skillful use of Life cereal (gingerbread-spice flavor) to simulate the appearance of a thatched roof. Jenelle saw many houses with a thatched roof while living in England, and she can give all sorts of reasons why you should be glad that your home does not have one.
The Little Women were clamoring for a camping trip this summer, so after recovering from their Yellowstone visit, they packed up the tent and headed to Seaquest State Park in southern Washington.
Seaquest State Park is not near the sea, but it is near Mt. St. Helens, which gave the Little Women a chance to examine a real live volcano up close (but not too close). They also visited Ape Caves, which is North America’s longest lava tube. (Don’t worry–the lava left a long time ago.) In between they engaged in time-honored camping activities, like dropping marshmallows into the campfire and playing Squirmy Wormy, a game that involves crawling into your sleeping bag and pretending to be a worm.
They hope that there will be more time for camping next summer. . . .
More pictures are here.
Last month the Little Women and their parents made their annual trek to the Mountain West. After visiting their grandparents in northern Utah, Annika, Clara, and Nicolyn headed north to Yellowstone National Park. They stayed at a cabin in Island Park, Idaho–our readers probably know Island Park for having the longest main street in the USA (33 miles).
The best part of the trip was that they spent it with their cousins, aunts, and uncle.
After three great days exploring the park (along with 30,000 other people), the Little Women drove to Pocatello to spend the night with another aunt and uncle before driving back to Seattle.
More pictures are here.
The Little Women and their parents spent Friday and Saturday at Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington. The Little Women enjoyed frolicking in the large indoor water park, which included, among other things, a large wave pool, a bucket that dumps 1000 gallons of water, and a set of water slides. If you want to ride a raft over a waterfall, backwards, and in the dark, then this is the place for you. The visit also allowed them to visit the world’s northernmost Burgerville location.